Reply with quote #91
hi Enuff, that is so bizarre. Your mother thinks you just wanted to bring the plant but not see her? Strange. If that was the case, you could have had a plant or flowers *sent* to her. how illogical.
but glad you made it thru wedding + mothers day! Intact. Somewhat.
Cindy on Union Square
Reply with quote #92
First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE for sharing their thoughts and problems with their aging parent. I thought for awhile there that we were all by ourselves in this. Mom, after a lifetime of independent living, doing for herself, and all that that implies, has now become a completely whiny, petulant 'kid'. My sister and I go out to visit her (she is still alone in her apartment and that may have to change soon), though at 91, most of her marbles are still intact. Val and I decided early on that Mom's telling tales - "good sister vs bad sister' act was not going to work: we simply wouldn't play. We are close, and very much committed to keeping her safe, fed, and comfortable, for however long she remains with us. Since she has only modest assets, there is also no question about 'stealing her money', tho' this is something which has recently become the topic of many of her comments. Yesterday my sister, after a full workday, got on the train, rode a half hour, brought mother dinner, food for the cat, a few items she needed, and her schedule meant that she had to arrive later than usual. She called twice to let her know that might happen. When she got there, first thing Mom did was snipe at her for 'screwing up things and being late'. My sister, usually the gentlest, kindest woman, put everything on the table, turned and left. Leaving Mom alone with her food, to perhaps think about her behavior. Although I suspect that self-reflection will be lost behind Mom's 'making the girls wrong' games. The girls being 65, and 63. Meantime, I have been going out there two or three times a week, taking time off from my job - bringing provisions and food to her, since she refuses Meals on Wheels (doesn't 'want strangers in the house or neighbors talking about her business') And despite the Doctor's suggestion that she use a cane to steady herself when she goes out, doesn't want 'people to see she is an old lady'..!! Now I want to add, she takes no medication, having reached the age of 91 with no heart trouble, no diabetes, no history of cancer, only some hearing and vision loss. She is in fine physical shape, though her emotional condition and behavior are quite another matter! She had a cataract removed from one eye, and the post op med regime of drops and salve, easy though it was and with everything written down and posted on her bathroom wall, and drilled repeatedly, was a horror. Not only was she often non compliant, she accused the Doctor of never having done the operation at all, and 'faking' the surgery. Delusional? A little, perhaps. But some of this is truly 'Geriatric Theatre'. Feigned helplessness? Or am I just a mean, insensitive daughter? Sign me Plumb Wore Out!
Reply with quote #93
Doesn't sound like you are mean at all. I congratulate you and your sister for having each other's back. I hope you can continue to do so especially as the frustrations mount.
Reply with quote #94
I just found this forum after doing a google search for "mom acts helpless" and thought I would write a post. My mom is just about 77 and driving me nuts. She lost her partner of 34 years in 2009 and fell last year, broke a vertebrae and was in the hospital and rehab for almost 2 months after the spine repair. It was during this time where I completely lost my patience with her because she wouldn't do anything to get better. She wouldn't get out of bed, walk, ask to go outside and feel the fresh air or see the sun, nothing. She just laid in bed and wanted to be taken care of. I went there everyday after work and finally blew up and left. Since she has been home, she sits in the living room in the dark, rarely drives anywhere, won't go to the senior center, and expects me to be around whenever she needs me but doesn't tell me until last minute. She may be low income but is not poor and can go anywhere she could ever dream of, but won't. She refuses to get a computer and learn about the world...I can't stand it!!!! Yesterday I found out she had 3 cataract apps in sept, for which I told her I would take her, then proceeded to ask me 5 times if I would take her. I finally got mad and said "don't ask me again. If you ask me again, I'm going to call a cab to take you". She has done the same thing to my husband and is a common occurrence.
Sorry about venting but I have never had anything common with my mom and am livid about helping to take care of her when she will do next to nothing to help herself. My brother lives an a hour away and contacts her maybe twice a year. Now that I am retired she probably thinks I should be coming over all the time and writes down everyday I am there on her calendar. I have no patience with her, feel bad about it, but not sure what is better: being mean in her presence or not be present at all?
Reply with quote #95
I have a similar mother. When I finally got frustrated trying to determine what was a real need, and what was simply manufactured, I called my local mental health association and they told me to call her doctor and fill them in on some of the behavior I was seeing.
Even though HIPAA prevents the doctors from sharing info with us, it does not prevent us from sharing info about our elders with their doctors. Since my mother is an amazing actress, the doctor's office did not believe me, but I then let them know that regardless of what they thought, I was very concerned and was not going to let the matter drop. I shared what I thought she needed (a psychiatric evaluation and/or an Alzheimer's evaluation) and then told them I would be speaking to them at her next visit. I made a rule a while back that I would not be alone with my mother, since I do not trust her, so on the day of the visit, I got someone to come with me and we accompanied her to her doctors. She doesn't like this boundary and pitched a fit, but I insisted I needed the other person in case she got weak (one of her many complaints.) In reality, the other person is a witness. At the visit, they asked her how she was doing with household chores and other lifestyle things, and she went into full victim mode about how hard everything was for her. I think she then expected them to convince me to be her slave, but they surprisingly set her up for meals on wheels, a ride van (to take her to doctor's visits), a home visit from a social worker and an Alzheimer's test. On the ride home, she was livid. Anyway, she actually let the social worker come (I was surprised she let her in, but the nurse that she loves at her doctor's office convinced her they could only help her), so after a long evaluation, the SW told my mother that she could stay in her home, but needed to get a computer so she could have groceries and medicines delivered. She also insisted that if she wanted to live alone, she needed to let professionals come in to help. That is not what my mother wanted to hear. We are now in a bit of a holding pattern as my mom is trying to wiggle out of all the help the doctor's office is offering, but I have informed her that this is what has to happen if she wants to stay in her own home. Even if she undoes all the things the doctor set up, I am at least on record for trying to get her assistance. So my advice is to call her doctor and tell them what you see. Your mom may be depressed, starting Alzheimers, or just simply needy, but if there are services that can help both of you, I would investigate them. And then once you do this, let go of what she thinks and what you think others think, and simply do what you think is right. Your needs matter just as much as hers.
Reply with quote #96
I totally understand and also don't know what to do about it.
It's a very similar situation for me except that I don't have any siblings. And I was born when my parents were WAY TOO YOUNG to have kids. The result is I have an attitude like, "that's my parent and I want to go live my own life." Her result is "I spent my whole life giving you opportunities and after everything I've done for you... (Fill in the blank)."
It's been 20 years since I left for college. Exactly 1.5 years after that time, my mother quit her job and moved to where I went to college. But, she didn't have a plan, don't have a job lined up, an apartment lined up, no savings, and a dog in tow. When she couldn't find a job and blew the little money she brought with her, suddenly she got "sick" and hasn't been able to work since. In 20 years, she has gotten to the point where she doesn't leave the house for anything except a monthly doctor appointment, which of course she can't take herself to, despite the fact I've bought and pay to maintain a car for her to use.
She has what they call "fibromyalgia". And although I get that it's a real thing, and I do have sympathy for her struggles dealing with it, the problem is her attitude, not the illness. She's just been utterly defeated by it and every single day produces another excuse as to why she can't do anything for herself... Ever. Couple all that with chain-smoking and pounding pot after pot of coffee day after day after day. Oh, and a milk addiction. 2 gallons of milk and at least a pint of creamer... Because, you know, she needs her coffee.
Can she afford to consume any of that? On any level? Of course not. So who is there that can pay for it all AND go pick up/deliver it? Me.
There are times when I have to talk myself down. I can't tell you how many times I've had to say to myself, "dude. It's just milk. There are way bigger problems (like the fact that she won't leave her apartment for anything. Ever) so just get the milk and stop complaining. At least you won't have to deal with her for the rest of today."
That's what it's come to. If I could afford it, she would be in a nursing home tomorrow. And I garauntee you, if I made that move, she would suddenly discover that she doesn't need me to do ANY of what I do. Problem is, I have spent 20 years dealing with her day to day and haven't been able to accomplish anything for myself. Let alone the daily cries of "I'm begging you to let me help you start your business!!" Really... "Begging." It's so pathetic. That's the thing that inspired me to write this: the "show" that is put on to demonstrate how "sick" and incapable out parents are.
The worst part? She's 56 years old. I can look forward to 30-40 more years of this if I don't figure something out.
I'm tired. I'm tired of her bull. I'm tired of being angry about it. I'm tired of constantly thinking about it. And I'm tired of flipping out every morning when I get a new text telling me how much she appreciates and loves me. I know when I see anything start that way that it's just a matter of reading a little further before she asks for errands and groceries. Even if I just went for her last night, I get messages like, "I couldn't sleep and started making pots of coffee at 2am. So I need another milk and creamer. I have $5 to give you. Blah blah blah".
Of course she doesn't have $5. She's just a saying that so I'll buy it.
I mean, am I just enabling everything? That's the only answer I can come up with. Because what if I don't have any money and I run out of tobacco or milk or creamer? Guess what happens? Who comes to clean up my mess and buy me more? Nobody. That's who. On top of that, I can look forward to her whining that I'm not doing enough (another constant in dealing with her).
What is it with people? How can someone grow up to be a 56 year old adult and not understand that "if you can't afford to consume something, don't consume it"?
The whole thing is sad and I hope you deal with it better than I have.
Reply with quote #97
I hope you don't mind if I share something I heard at my daughter's orientation for college. I think it applies to our immature adult parents as well.
One of the speakers was discussing the development of children, and he mentioned that after childhood, kids must learn how to become mature, responsible adults on their own. For many, this involves a painful series of mistakes and falls, but part of the process is learning how to pick themselves up and move on every time. Doing so enables them to develop the skills, resiliency, maturity and confidence they need to take care of their own needs and handle the stresses and problems of life. Ultimately, letting them do this on their own is in their and society's best interests. The speaker went on to say that the best way families can help their children navigate this developmental stage is to step back and not get involved in their young adult's struggles and challenges. We must let them solve their own problems and fix their own mistakes and learn that ultimately, they are responsible for the choices they make. The best way to be supportive is to let them know we have faith in their abilities to solve their own problems and if necessary, point them in the direction where they should start going. He said for most families, the hardest parts are watching their kids struggle and resisting the urge to jump in to fix things. We feel uncomfortable doing the right thing because we hate seeing them suffer. In addition, we hate it when they resent us or get mad at us. This, he pointed out, is what we must work on. Our kids will probably not like us when we force them to take ownership of their lives, but we must stay strong and rise above their reactions. Ultimately it is immature children who think it is other people's jobs to take care of them. Mature adults know it is their own job. And our job as parents is to raise mature adults. It hit me that many of us have parents who are actually immature children. They don't want to stand on their own two feet and would much prefer to let us solve their problems. But we are neither their parents nor their slaves. Since they never seemed to navigate this stage of development, perhaps the best gift we can give them is the chance to take this important step now. I realize that many of us are also dealing with mentally ill parents who never got the help they needed. The speaker addressed this issue as well. If someone absolutely cannot take care of himself, we have the responsibility to step in to get them help. Yet that does not mean we should hide the evidence of their illness by covering for them and taking on their responsibilities. It means we should help them see the truth that they need help. If we are doing things that ultimately help them mature, that is fine, but if we are doing things that prevent them developing independence, then that is not helpful. If another adult doesn't want help, and nothing we do works, all we can do is detach and hope things work out for them without us. For what it is worth, here is what happened to me when I detached a bit from my mom. After the abuse and tears and manipulation and threats (a few years worth, unfortunately...) she found other people to do her bidding. First it was one of my siblings, and then it was a boyfriend. (My mom may be almost 86, but she still knows how to manipulate men!) As you can see, this can last many decades! If your mom is intent on never growing up, I think the best you can do is accept it and not enable it. It's very hard though, especially when that programmed feeling that we are responsible for them creeps in. For me, learning not to let my feelings override the truth really helped. Good luck. I'm just a little bit younger than your mom, and trust me when I say that learning how to detach will help you if you ever have children!
Registered: 1498671298 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #98
Turning bitter? Hell yes! I just fumble for words anymore. I have said all there is to say and just can't repeat what I say to her one more time. ~ Oh, sorry, I'm new to the site and need a place where others know how to relate. Where do I start? 1st I'm suppose to call my mother everyday even if it is just to say Hi? But she absolutely will NOT call me. Take today for example, it will be day 3 that I haven't spoke to her. I finally reach out when I saw she was on FB this morning. Asked her what she was doing later. She said, "Oh, I don't know...Haven't heard from you in 3 days.. probably nothing as usual, I see I wasn't included in your favorite people text so I figured I don't matter to you anyway, I have always known that anyway. Why even bother with me? Yes I am upset and in tears but who cares anyway?." I had no idea what she was talking about so I logged on to facebook. OMG, it was one of those games that is generated on fb that tells you who your 6 best friends are. After several messages back and forth. Her telling me that I don't care about her and that I only call when its convenient. Me telling her I love her and that she is important to me. Rather than spell out the entire conversation which I'm sure most of you are familiar with she says to me. "maybe someone will call when I die, if it really matters to you. And goes on the say that she has to go now because she cant write or see thru the tears." A little back ground info, I grew up an only child my father passed away several years ago (they were already divorced) she lives alone, very rarely leaves her home or even gets dressed out of her pajamas. If the day/activity doesn't involve or include me she doesn't do anything at all. She is very negative and her glass is always 1/2 full rather than half empty.
__________________ V ~
Reply with quote #99
I am so sorry your mom is manipulating you. It's so hard, because we really do want to help them, but their issues make it so darned hard. Now I do not know your mother, but if she is like mine, the underlying message is that children exist solely to meet their parents' needs, and if we are not able to do that, we obviously hate them.
It's part of their twisted thinking, and nothing we do or say is ever going to make them see the light. Whenever my mom acts like this, I try to translate her actions and words, so they make more sense to me. Mom speaking: Hi Dear.... I am depressed/disordered/broken/bored and feeling empty inside. As you know, I cannot manage my emotions and emptiness on my own, so I want you to take care of me and fill me up. I don't care that this is unfair or unreasonable. I NEED it. Some ways you can do this are to 1) call me all the time, and make me feel important, 2) let the world know that I am the most important person in your life; and 3) do whatever I ask, whenever I ask it. In my mind, good daughters who really love their mothers center their whole lives on them. I don't care that this could destroy your life. I am the one who matters here. The only way I know how to get my needs met is to manipulate like a waif or rage like a dictator. Please don't ask me to connect in a healthy way. I don't know how to do it. If you make me try, I will torment you. When you do not center your whole life on me, my tank goes empty and I feel unloved. It can drain right down to zero at any time, because I can feel unloved pretty much for any reason...if I am not getting enough attention, if I am not given what I want, if someone else is getting love or attention, if I am not the center of the universe, if the mail hasn't arrived, if I have to do something I don't want, if it is raining, if some imaginary event has happened..... You know how everything threatens me and make me unsafe. I trained you many years ago to notice these things. I also trained you to make sure I always feel safe, so I do not understand how you could possible treat me so horribly by letting me get so scared. You obviously hate me. Otherwise you would have already made me feel better. I am entitled to that, you know. You must know by now that talking to you has nothing to do with connecting or sharing or bonding. If it were, I would just call you on my own when I felt a need to connect. Calling is about giving me attention and love. P lease don't be unreasonable and expect a mutual relationship where we both give and take. First of all, that drains me, and second, you only deserve that after you have fulfilled all your daughterly responsibilities. And since I am feeling very unloved all the time, you have clearly failed at that. No, talking with you is about helping me fill my tank. I need you to call me, because that lets me know that you love me. I can't feel good, safe, loved or nourished on my own. When you call me constantly, it lets me know that you WANT to focus on me and I don't have to do anything in return. I feel loved when others ask about me, cater to me, include me and build me up, because that means my empty fuel tank is being filled. As a daughter, it's your responsibility to prove to me that I am loved. If there isn't a constant flow of attention, I will go dry, and I will then view you as having failed. "Going without" always makes me feel unloved. I don't care that it really isn't your responsibility; I only care about my feelings. You have left me no choice but to punish you and make you feel guilty. And if that doesn't work, I am going to go crawl in a corner and hope you feel responsible. Waiting for you to apologize and do better..... Broken heart, I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that you absolutely do not have to call her everyday to be a good daughter. She may always expect it, but she is being unreasonable. Instead of trying to get her to become reasonable, it's probably a better use of your time to learn how to not be bothered by her unreasonable actions and reactions. It took me a very long time to get to this place, but I am so much better these days at not centering my life on my mother's erratic emotions. It's okay for your mom to feel bad. Just because she hasn't learned to how to deal with unpleasant feelings doesn't mean you are sentenced to a life of torture. Help her be a good mother by letting her deal with her "suffering" alone. Just so you know, if your mom is seriously mentally ill (as mine is) , she may threaten to kill herself or she may get violent. Having been through both of these, be prepared to call the authorities. Take care.
Registered: 1498671298 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #100
Wow Splotchy! You are dead on! I mean DEAD ON! I often refer to myself as having "mommy issues". I'm nearly 40 years old and when I go on vacation or even something as simple as out to dinner I literally can nearly hear her voice in my head making me feel guilty that I didn't call and invite her. She lives alone and has completely isolated herself. She sleeps nearly 16 hours a day, drinks mostly coffee all day long & smokes cigarettes all day. Oh and the scrolling thru facebook, it drives me insane because she makes a tremendous big deal out of things that she doesn't understand. She rarely even gets out of her pajamas. She has made statements about dying b4 such as maybe I'll just die then you won't have to ever worry about me again. And I lie to her. I mean ALL the time. I lie about where I'm going, things I've purchased, things I've done because her response is that I can't afford that or "well, thank you for inviting your mother. She can't understand that my friends don't want to hang out with my mom. A lot of days its like something completely consuming your every thought. Guilt is the #1 culprit! My mother has spent many years programming me to feel like this. Its a struggle every single day for me to NOT speak or act as she would. Weather or not its being a parent myself, a wife, a friend or any scenario I will find myself questioning things I have said or done because it was something that she would have done or said. Justifying her actions with money is how she makes me feel as tho we "owe" her our love and attention because she has bought it. By taking my daughter shopping or helping us with a HUGE home repair that we didn't have the money for. I hated to take the help from her because I knew it was going to be held over my head EVERY SINGLE time she is able to. But I had no choice. Don't get me wrong I am so appreciative that she was able to help and willing but I knew what the repercussions were going to be. Been there done this before. Because she bought us something or helped, it automatically gives her the right to have a "say" ANYTIME with ANYTHING. She is also mean, down right mean! She has asked my daughter before if she really thinks she needs that second helping? Right in front of a crowd of people. Or she will tell her at the dinner table to slow down, the food will still be there in a few minutes its not going anywhere.. she will sarcastically pat her on the top of the hand and make a sarcastic statement like "its ok, there is plenty for you to have more, don't stress yourself out. You probably don't need it anyway ~ huh?" My daughter is 14 years old. So as you can see it is a HUGE struggle for me and something I need to learn to cope with. I love my mom so much, What happened to my mom, my friend the woman that raised me ~ she was the best!?
__________________ V ~
Reply with quote #101
I am not a counselor, so please take what I say as simply one's woman's perspective.
You are living my life from 15 years ago. I had no idea that my mom had a mental illness, a personality disorder, and addiction issues. The only big difference between your mom and mine is that my mom didn't really spend a lot of time with me as a child, so our relationship was really one of me always watching out for her, and not the other way around. But the underlying mindsets and emotional tools of your mom and mine are the same. Trust me when I say there is nothing you can do to change your mom. She has significant issues that you did not cause or create. If you were to leave her tomorrow, she would still have them. She has huge emotional needs that she doesn't know how to manage, and she is using you as a crutch to avoid addressing them. In order for things to be healthy, she would need significant help for her issues. Unfortunately, if she is like my mom, her issues are the very stumbling blocks that prevent her from seeking help. She is much too proud to ever admit that she has a problem. The other side of this is that you too have significant issues as a result of having been raised in this toxic emotional environment. Somewhere in your mind, you think it is wrong to protect yourself, have boundaries or live your own life. You intellectually know that these things are good, but you are unable to consistently implement them for yourself. Since you were raised in her unhealthy reality, you likely view unhealthy things as "normal" or at least inevitable. You may feel powerless to change things because you do not want to lose your mom or uproot your life. You may secretly hope there is something you can do to make things go smoother. Even though she hurts you and your family, you feel obligated to keep her in your life due to fear, obligation and guilt. I was the same way for many decades. I tried everything I knew to have a relationship with my mom. And here is what I discovered: -If you continue to let her interfere in your life, things are only going to get worse. -Your children will ultimately resent you, because you didn't protect them from the dysfunction. -She may try to get between you and your children and try to seduce them away from you. Teenagers love money and freedom, and she may use them to get your kids to become her new source of attention. -Or she may abuse them just for fun. -Everything in her life is a tool to cope with her emptiness. Money is simply another tool. "Gifts" are not really gifts. . -She may interfere in your marriage and your other relationships. -Her emotional issues will likely get worse as she ages. -The longer you let her believe that she is the center of your universe, the more you both will suffer. She may never let go of that belief that she is the most important person to exist, but you can. It's just going to take a lot of work and a lot of prayer. -You will eventually get tired of having to lie and having to hide, and you will either seek an authentic life (...a very painful, but worthwhile journey...) or use unhealthy ways to cope. Or you may snap. Do you have to cut her out of your life? Maybe. That's something you will need to pray about and ponder. But if you want a blueprint on how to not deal well with this very serious issue, just do what I did for many years. I spent decades going along to get along. I tried to please her, fix what she thought was broken in me, and "cope" with what life was handing me. I eventually learned that the most loving thing I could do was not let her lies invade my life. Two broken people living out one' person's lies is not love. With the help of prayer and wise counsel, I learned that I could be a loving daughter even if she was angry at me, threatening me, or criticizing me. As long as I was firm about my truth, I could withstand her reactions. The key for me was to not let her reactions dictate my choices. She was never going to agree with me or support me or validate me. I had to seek the truth and live it every day, despite how she felt. At first it was enormously hard, but over time, it got easier. At some point, I also stopped trying to fix her. I guess I needed my energy for other things. I learned that my life could still go on even if I did not have the mother I needed. When the old false thoughts crept back into my life, I used my tools to deal with the fear and insecurity. You too can calm your terrorized default brain so you can live a more sane life. You just have to work on authenticity and health a little bit every day. Get whatever support you need to do this. It will take time but eventually, healthy living will become more automatic. Just so you know, I still struggle daily, but I have learned how to embrace the struggle. I still yearn for a mother's love, I still deal with the effects of her mental illness, and I still deal with the aftermath of all those unhealthy years. But these days, I am no longer deliberately letting my mother's mental illness define my choices or my beliefs. I have detached from her and now interact with her with strong boundaries and acceptance. She still has things to teach me, but she is much too dangerous to have a normal relationship with. Having said all that, she is still a human being, so I will never give up hope that she may find peace and stop acting completely from her brokenness. But until I see concrete evidence, the boundaries stay up. I hope I haven't painted a bleak picture. Having a mother like this is a curse, but it also can be a blessing. Many good things have come from my relationship with my mother. They simply aren't the things most others get from their mothers. But I am okay with that. I wish you luck as you navigate these waters. If I can help, let me know.
Reply with quote #102
P.S. Forgive me for being so long winded.